Sunday 3 December 2023

Napoleon: A travesty of a movie

Ridley Scott's Napoleon is a travesty of a movie. Historically inaccurate, poorly written, badly acted and a complete mess from beginning to end. 

I've not done a film review before but I had to make an exception for this film. Hotly anticipated by many wargamers the early images from the production made us even more eager to see the final cut. What we got was so bad that the film has become the latest internet meme, with terrible review after terrible review. Far be it for me not to join in, so here's my take on two and a half hours of wasted opportunity and insult to history.


  1. Thanks Lee for your honest review. Little to no characterisation, childish script, dreadful acting apart from Josephene and King? Francis, aka Miles Jupp, who I really like. And the battles, God I almost cried at the pathetic standard of research, if there was any. Trenches? camouflage, cavalry charges led by the Emperor? Austerlitz with deep frozen lakes that Napoleon knew the allies would try to escape over. Waterloo? Sharpe's version from television was a better display and probably had more men. Basically a boring train crash.

  2. I'm not going to the theater to see it. I'm not super tough on Hollywood historical films, but from what you say and others it's so far beyond the pale I'll save my money, mental health and avoid this. I may take a glance on Apple next year, but only out of morbid curiosity with a quick button to change the channel in an emergency.


  3. I enjoyed that, Lee. You should add reviews into your regular repertoire.

  4. Lee,

    I watched your review of the film on YouTube with my wife … whose words were something along the lines that it I expected her to go to the cinema to see it, my life expectancy was short!

    This film seems to have been universally condemned by everyone who has seen it and has any knowledge of the period. Most of Ridley Scott’s previous films have been good and some have been very good … but it looks as if this one is just not up to his usual standard. That’s a great pity, and the arrogance of his reported comment about historians is mind boggling.

    The one good thing is that it’s made me want to watch ‘Waterloo’ again!

    All the best,


  5. A great review Lee and one that fits in with all the others I have read. My wife asked if I wanted to see it and rahter pointedly said 'No!', then explained why. Your wife's commment about looking at you watching the film made me chuckle!

  6. Seems like the general opinion from wargamers Lee, but with people who don't know so much about Napoleonic history, opinions may vary....In second position, Ridley Scott's Apple Original Films-produced and Sony Pictures-distributed action epic “Napoleon” collected $35.7 million worldwide, including $28.6 million internationally. It now has a global total of $137 million. “Napoleon” is playing on more than 21,500 screens in 63 markets.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always try to reply as soon as I can, so why not pop back later and continue the conversation. In the meantime, check out my YouTube channel Miniature Adventures TV